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The role of strategic internal communication in empowering female employees to cope with workplace gender discrimination

Jo-Yun Li (University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, USA)
Yeunjae Lee (University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, USA)
Dongqing Xu (University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, USA)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 12 September 2022

Issue publication date: 3 January 2023

317

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how the excellent practice of public relations concerning strategic internal communication may help empower female employees to cope with workplace gender discrimination. It constructs and empirically tests a theoretical model that investigates the role of transparent internal communication on diversity and inclusion in shaping female employees' sense of empowerment, and that empowerment may affect how they cope with such problems in the workplace.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey was conducted with 402 full-time female employees in large-sized organizations in the United States. Structural equation models were conducted to test the proposed measurement model and hypothesized model.

Findings

The findings of this study offer support for the proposed model that featuring transparent internal communication regarding workplace gender discrimination increases female employees' empowerment to tackle the problems, which in turn encourages them to adopt problem-focused coping and participate in collective coping behaviors.

Research limitations/implications

Excellent internal communication not only facilitates organization-employee relationships as prior research widely demonstrated, but, according to the findings of this study, also creates a sense of empowerment among female employees, which encourage them to proactively address workplace gender discrimination issue.

Practical implications

Organizations should practice transparent communication regarding diversity and inclusion, ensuring employees receive sufficient information, clear guidelines, and opportunities to voice as well as aim to develop empowerment interventions that help employees address discrimination issues in the workplace.

Originality/value

To the best of the author's knowledge, this study is among the first empirical studies that present the importance of strategic internal communication, particularly transparent communication, in facilitating gender equality in the workplace.

Keywords

Citation

Li, J.-Y., Lee, Y. and Xu, D. (2023), "The role of strategic internal communication in empowering female employees to cope with workplace gender discrimination", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 135-154. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-06-2022-0065

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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